Retirement and Aging
by Irwin Lengel
At times it is somewhat amazing to me how, being retired, our days can speed by so quickly. For several years now, my morning routine has been to wake early, do about fifteen minutes of stretching exercises, go to the computer and prepare what I used to call my “Facebook Quip” for the day, post same, and then go to the kitchen to prepare breakfast and get on with my day.
Regarding the Facebook Quip – they were basically some saying that could be bright and funny, a quote, or something just wild and wacky – designed or created to get a smile or chuckle out of those reading it.
My thought process was, if they would read my quip and smile and chuckle, well, then hopefully the balance of their day would be positive as well. Oh, and I also made it a point to walk a mile or two during the day.
But for the past several months, such has not been my routine. Why? Because, early into the pandemic, I allowed all the negativity that occurred during 2020 to bring me down. What do I mean?
Enter 2020, namely February and/or March and “Whammo” along comes the dreaded Covid – 19 Virus and subsequent pandemic. I could add to this post all the rhetoric from a political standpoint we were subjected to but, being the wild and crazy type of person I try to be, I am not even going to venture into that can of worms.
Now, I am not one to receive the local newspaper, but unfortunately wanting to keep up with all that was happening, at the time, I decided to stay current by accessing Social Media. Wrong thing to do!
I am sure that most of you will agree that no matter what network one turns on today, you cannot turn on the news without being blasted with negativity. And if any of you are like me, even after you have had your fill of the, and I will try to be polite here – “CRAP” – seen, there is usually one story or another that tends to linger in our minds even after you either turn the set off or go to another show.
So, what to do, what to do?
I have never been a “take charge” type of guy thinking I could change the world or the problems therein. Nor have I ever wanted to be part of the solution. I am a mere mortal, living in this wonderful country of ours just trying my best to make it through another day like most of the rest of the world does – day in and day out. One of my favorite sayings has always been “One day at a Time, One day at a Time!”
As a matter-of-fact, for many years now, I have ended many an email and other writings I have written with the following quote:
“Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.” —Yoda
I have been a fan of reading, writing, and making comments about various quotes I have come across for more years than I can remember and one of the sayings that has always stuck with me is the one Desmond Tutu once said:
“There is only one way to eat an elephant, a bite at a time.”
In times like these, when everything in life seems daunting, overwhelming, and even impossible, stop for a moment, and think. It has been said that even the impossible can be accomplished gradually by taking on just a little at a time.
Another thing I have learned due to everything that has happened over these past 15 months is that we should all stop a moment and count our blessings if we are still able to get up every morning, take nourishment, and go about our day. Why, because looking at life that way will make us realize more that every day should be looked upon as a gift. We are still here. It is like when we first wake and see the sun shining. Yay, a brand-new day!
And when you run into an old friend unexpectedly while out getting your groceries (social distancing of course), think of that too as a gift. They too, woke up this morning and hopefully are experiencing a similar experience.
Is it all going to be sunshine and flowers? NO, it is not! Believe me when I say, we (my wife and I) as well as many others in this world today have endured sorrows since this pandemic began. Such events wrench one’s heart every day but instead of bringing us down, these events should give us more of a bittersweet appreciation of life.
Both of us are now in our eighth decade of life and even with all that is happening around us, do our best to keep each other upbeat, happy and we face each day with a smile and a “Get Up and Go Attitude” because, well, as has always been said – It beats the alternative!
Oh, and if anyone out there is of the opinion that they are the only ones going through problems, and I am making reference to our health with regards this statement – take a trip to your local doctor’s office and just sit in the waiting room for about an hour.
We did that recently (Ophthalmologist appointment) and were amazed at the physical condition of many of the patients that also had appointments that same day. Believe me when I say that such an experience opens ones’ eyes to how well we have it. While my wife and I both have some health problems, looking at some of the other patients that were there that day made us wonder why oh why were we even there for our appointment. It is even more eye-opening when one visits their family doctor’s office.
I read a lot about how people should plan for retirement – you know, have this much money in the bank, downsize your personal belongings and even your house, and so forth and so on. But having been retired now for twenty-five years come December, if I were to put together a list of “must do’s” to be prepared for retirement, the top of the list would read: “Take care of one’s health and mind”.
In my humble opinion, making sure one is as healthy as possible both mentally and physically are key issues to enjoying a satisfying retirement, in addition to the others previously mentioned.
That’s my two cents worth on the subject of retirement and aging and I am sticking to it!